It's pretty sad when people have a better chance of staying married in a virtual world than in real life, but that is apparently the case, if you compare the divorce rates in the MMO MapleStory with real-world divorce rates. VentureBeat recently talked to marriage expert Athena Carrillo Lee of Mind Body Spirit Therapy in Los Angeles about MapleStory marriages and why people get involved in them.
"Some players might forge online partnerships because they see it as advantageous, the way someone might marry for money — no offense to those of you with those values. Others, who play in order to socialize, might forge a partnership because they wish to flirt, romance, and marry, as these are certainly social activities."
"If someone is only capable of social interaction at this level, then I’m grateful they have some level of interaction," she added.
But marriage is a mess even in the virtual world. As was reported last year, most virtual marriages end in divorce. Sadly, for those looking for romance in MapleStory in 2010, the odds were against them. In 2010 26,982 in-game marriages were performed, and 20,344 (75 percent) ended in a divorce. The good news is that North American MapleStory divorces dropped to 46 percent in 2011. According to DivorceRate.org, the divorce rate in America for a first marriage is 50 percent and up to 67 percent for a second marriage. By the third marriage (we call this Newt Gingrich territory), it’s 74 percent. Compared to MapleStory divorces, it seems as though the odds are better for the fake marriage.
As for how one can be successful in an online marriage, Carrillo Lee says, that one shouldn't marry to "get something." Instead people should get married to "share something."
"It’s a great way to get to know yourself,” she says.